It’s a cliché but arriving on the tiny island of Sark from Guernsey’s capital St Peter Port is like stepping back in time.
Measuring little more than two square miles, the Crown territory packs in some incredible scenery.
Its rugged coastline is marked by steep cliffs that rise high above crashing waves and there is a handful of small sandy bays where the water in summer gleams a stunning turquoise.
Inland, the rolling countryside is a patchwork of fields and hedgerows with picturesque cottages, small woodlands and colourful gardens.
If you take a day trip from Sark to Guernsey, you won’t be disappointed.
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Read on for information on a day trip to Sark.
Where is Sark?
Sark is an island within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. It is about 1.5 miles south of Guernsey.
It is one of the smallest of the islands here covering approximately 2 square miles in area and having a population of less than 500 people.
What is Sark like?
Put simply, Sark is beautiful! It has a rugged coastline interspersed with small sandy bays. It provides plenty of opportunities for some wonderful coastal walks.
Part of Sark’s charm is that there are no cars. You can walk along its dusty, untarmaced roads without being disturbed by vehicles.
Most people travel around by tractor or hire bikes, although you’ll also see tourists occasionally being pulled along on horse drawn carriages.
The decision not to provide street lighting also adds to the allure, particularly for those who decide to stay overnight rather than do a day trip to Sark from Guernsey.
It must be an unforgettable experience, wandering the narrow lanes at night. This also means its perfect for star gazing! In fact, in 2011, Sark was designated ‘Europe’s first International Dark Sky Community’.
A day trip to Sark from Guernsey offers the perfect chance to experience a beautiful, and rather unique place. And for those really looking to get away from it all, you should consider staying overnight.
How to get to Sark
There is no airport on Sark and so for your day trip, you need to take the ferry from Guernsey to Sark (head for the main port in the capital, St Peter Port.)
The crossing usually takes just under an hour. There are several sailings every day (although be sure to pick up a timetable as you wouldn’t want to get stuck on the island if you miss the last ferry back).
Note that even on a calm, bright sunny day, the crossing from St Peter Port can be a little bumpy in places.
But don’t let that deter you from this day trip. Once there, you’ll realise it was worth it. The ferry also sails past another of the Channel Islands – Herm – and what finally awaits you on Sark is worth every penny of the £30 per person round trip.
Arriving in Sark
You embark at Sark’s Maseline Harbour and walk through a short tunnel with a ‘Welcome to Sark’ sign above it.
This brings you out into what can only be described as a very basic arrivals area: a large, dusty, windblown area where the local transport – tractors and trailers – awaits the new arrivals. There are also thankfully some decent toilets if you didn’t fancy using the ferry’s facilities.
Next to the toilets, there is another tunnel that leads through to Creux Harbour. This is used to moor fishing boats and yachts. There is also a small beach tucked away from view.
We nearly missed this – but it’s worth the short detour as you will see from my photos above.
Reaching ‘The Avenue’
When we visited, most ferry passengers clambered aboard a tractor trailer in the arrivals area. This pulls you up the hill and along a winding dusty track to the island’s ‘high street’ – a short stretch called ‘The Avenue’.
This is where you’ll find a handful of shops and places to eat. There is also a small supermarket, bike hire facilities, a post office and banks. Note there are no cash machines on the island (you have to get cash back in the banks with your card).
We chose instead to follow a narrow pathway that runs alongside the dusty track. This takes you through a leafy wooded area and out next to a pub. We didn’t have time to pop in, but it looked like a great place to stop for a bite to eat and drink before the short five-minute walk up to ‘The Avenue’.
A day trip to Sark from Guernsey: things to do in Sark
One of the attractions of visiting Sark is that it’s not overwhelmed with a massive amount of things to do.
That said, if you day trip here, you’ll probably only get about 5 hours on the island and if you want to do some walks and bike rides, you would be advised to prioritise what you see and do.
Whether you explore the island by bike or on foot, the following outlines some of the key things worth considering. For a map of Sark, click here.
See the spectacular La Coupée and Little Sark
One of the top attractions in Sark is La Coupée. This narrow isthmus sits 80 metres above the sea and connects the main island of Sark with the smaller Little Sark.
It’s about a 25 to 30 minute walk from the ‘Avenue’ to La Coupée although you could reach it more quickly by bike.
We chose to walk as it was a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies. It was incredibly relaxing ambling along the dusty tracks past pretty little cottages and country manors with glimpses of the sea from time to time. Every now and again, we’d need to stop at the side of the track as a tractor passed, kicking up a dusty cloud on its way.
Shortly before you reach La Coupée you come to Caragh Chocolates. On a decent day, you can sit outside on wooden benches. Order a tea or coffee to go with a selection of their exquisite Belgian style chocolates made with milk from Guernsey cows. Or take some back as a souvenir of your time on the island!
When you reach La Coupée you get a breathtaking view out across to Little Sark and down to the isolated La Grande Grève beach below. There are steps down to the sandy beach if you want to take a closer look.
For those who don’t like heights, the narrow dam is not for the faint hearted.
But we would definitely recommend you walk across to the Little Sark side as you’ll be afforded sweeping views of Sark, the surrounding sea and, on clear day, Jersey, Guernsey and Herm.
If you carry on into Little Sark, there are a number of sights worth seeing. There is the much-talked-about Venus pool, a rock pool that bathers can dip into at low tide.
There is also the popular La Sablonnerie, a collection of old cottages where you can stay the night. It is also hailed as the island’s best restaurant and features a tea garden.
Wander around La Seigneurie Gardens
The walled gardens at La Seigneurie on Sark are a must-see if you’re visiting the island. They’re incredibly well-maintained and have a large variety of plants and flowers.
There is a small maze to explore as well as a chapel, Victorian watchtower and dovecote tower. The latter is said to have been constructed to house pigeons!
It’s incredibly peaceful here. As its website states: “La Seigneurie Gardens provide a tranquil contrast to the windswept wildness of the island’s beautiful coast”. I’d agree with this.
There is a cafe selling drinks and cakes, as well as lunch. Entry to the gardens costs £6 for adults and £2 for children.
Look through the ‘Window in the Rock’
The ‘Window in the Rock’ is a 10 to 15 minute walk from La Seigneurie Gardens down small shaded footpaths and past little streams.
It’s a popular spot for visitors to the island, as it offers stunning views out to sea.
When you arrive, you’ll see why it’s called this. It is a square opening from the rock face that looks out across the sea. It was apparently created so that one of the Seigneurs of Sark could look out through it to the stunning views beyond.
I’d advise you not to go too far through the window though. There’s large a drop here and with the coastal wind it could become a little hair raising!
Learn about some of Sark’s history in the Sark Museum
If you want to learn more about the history of Sark, the Sark museum is worth visiting. The museum houses exhibits concerning the island’s experiences during World War II. There are also historic displays on rural Sark life.
If you’ve been to any of the other Channel Islands’ war time museums, this would be a great location to learn about one of the smaller islands’ experiences.
The museum is open on a seasonal basis and only for two or three hours in the afternoon. So, it’s advisable to check ahead of time to see whether it will be open.
See one of the smallest prisons in the world
Reflecting the tiny population on Sark, its 19th century prison is one of the smallest in the world, with just 2 cells. It’s obviously a small place, but worth seeing for this reason alone.
You can find it next to the island’s visitor centre and near to Fleur de Jardin Tea Gardens tea room (itself worth visiting, especially on a summer’s day as it has a spacious garden – try the delicious scallops in white wine!).
Sark is a perfect place to go cycling: there are lots of cycle routes that take you through incredibly scenic countryside and the lack of vehicles makes it much safer and more enjoyable.
There are several places where you can hire bikes in Sark. These include A to B Cycles , Avenue Cycles and Sark Cycle Hire.
Is Sark worth visiting?
If you’re spending some time in the Channel Islands, then yes, Sark is definitely worth visiting. If you’ve mainly visited either Guernsey or Jersey, it’s really quite different.
And for those of you who enjoy getting away from it all and seeing a totally different side of the Channel Islands, then a day trip to Sark from Guernsey should be number one on your visitor list!
Other UK and European short breaks
I hope this has given you some useful information for a day trip to Sark from Guernsey.
For ideas for other European and UK day trips and short breaks, check out some of my other posts:
- 11 top things to do in Guernsey in the Channel Islands
- Things to do in winter in Switzerland’s Zurich
- A weekend in Portugal’s second city, Porto
- Essential information for your trip to the Keukenhof flower gardens in the Netherlands
- A weekend in Bath in the UK
- Things to do in South West London
- A royal trip to Windsor in the UK
- 2 days in Lyon in France
For more ideas for short breaks and day trips, visit my website.